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Alaska Earthquake Hits Small Towns

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Alaska Earthquake Hits Small Towns
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A magnitude 7.0 earthquake shook the small towns of the Aleutian Islands on Friday.The earthquake occured in a seismically active region, and produced aftershocks of up to 5.2 magnitude. Even though the area is known to have earthquakes now and then, it’s something you never get used to. The shaking lasted about one minute.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Kathleen Nevzoroff was sitting at her computer at 8:25am when the tiny village of Adak, was shaken. “I ran to my doors and opened them”, she said, “and my chimes were all ringing.”

The epicenter was located 67 miles to the southwest of Adak, about 1,200 miles southwest of Anchorage. The earthquake didn’t trigger a tsunami warning, but the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center is monitoring the situation continually for tsunamis triggered by landslides that can occure on land or under water. The quake occurred offshore where plates of the Earth’s crust grind and dive. By contrast, the San Andreas, is a strike-slip fault. Quakes along strike-slip faults tend to move horizontally.

“I thought it was my dog running up the stairs,” Debra Sharrah said. She was getting ready for work, upstairs in her two-story townhome, “It kept making noise and then it got louder. So then all of a sudden the rumbling started. Nothing fell off my walls, and the wine glasses didn’t go out of the hutch or anything.” The only thing knocked over in her house was a stool.

The quake affected Adak, which has a population of 320, and an even smaller nearby community of 64, Atka. Atka residents were displaced during the World War II, relocating to Southeast Alaska so the U.S. government could demolish the village to prevent the Japanese from seizing it as they had other Aleutian communities. After the war, the U.S. Navy rebuilt the community and residents returned. Today, the community is a cluster of utilitarian buildings scattered over rolling hills that turn beautiful emerald green in warmer months.

Adak, 110 miles to the west, had been home to U.S. military installations that allowed forces to wage a successful offense against the Japanese after they seized the Aleutian Islands of Kiska and Attu. After the war, Adak was transformed into a Naval air station that served as a submarine surveillance center during the Cold War. Later, the facilities were acquired by the Aleut Corp. — a regional native corporation — in a federal land-transfer agreement. It became a city in 2001 and today retains its military appearance.

Image via Wikipedia

Alaska Earthquake Hits Small Towns
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